Boost for build-to-rent sector as activity levels surge

Number of units with planning permission, under construction or completed in the UK up by 200% in a year

New figures have shown the number of build-to-rent units with planning permission, under construction or completed in the UK has surged by over 200% to 67,000 units over the last year.

The British Property Federation reports that UK regions have seen an increase of almost 400%, from 7,000 units in October 2015 to over 34,000 a year, but thinks the sector could be delivering “far more”.

Investors are sitting on a potential £50bn warchest, says the organisation, and actively looking for stable income and investment sectors that will hold relatively steady amid any Brexit market turbulence.

Joining a clamour of other industry voices, the BPF suggests the chancellor could deliver a much-needed “shot in the arm” by reconsidering the SDLT surcharge on additional homes at the Autumn Statement, along with introducing clearer national planning policy for build to rent developments and allowing flexibility on space standards by up to 10%.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation: “The build to rent sector has been one of the good news stories of the housing market over the past few years and it is great to see quality rental homes now coming on to the market at scale.

“The truth is the sector could be delivering so much more, however, if it can find the opportunities and maintain confidence to invest. The Brexit negotiation period provides a window of opportunity to channel even further investment into this form of housing supply. The sector was kick-started a few years ago with support from Government and further modest planning and SDLT changes we believe could firmly send it into overdrive.”